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Best Stainless Steel Cookware Sets: A Perfect Choice For Your Kitchen

A full set of cookware is a good investment, whether setting up your first apartment kitchen or just getting rid of your mismatched pots and pans. It takes the guesswork out of choosing the pieces you need and is often a much better deal than buying each piece separately. 

Stainless Steel Cookware is the material of choice for amateur and professional cooks because it is durable, browns meats better than other materials, and can go straight from the stovetop to the broiler without having to clean it first. 

Stainless steel pans can be harder to clean when food gets stuck in them, but they can look almost brand new for their whole lives with proper care. 

If you want a whole set, we’ve put together a list of the best stainless steel cookware sets to help you decide.

Read also: The Best Nonstick Cookware Sets of 2024 (Top Picks)

What You Need to Know About Cooking with Stainless Steel

Even though it has a good name, stainless steel doesn’t conduct heat very well. 

Almost all stainless steel cookware is either clad, meaning it has at least one layer of aluminum between the inside and outside layers of stainless steel or has a solid aluminum disc on the bottom. This makes sure that heat is spread evenly.

On an electric or induction stovetop, stainless steel cookware with a flat disc bottom will work better than clad cookware because the flat base will make better contact with the glass ceramic surface.

You can ensure your cookware lasts a long time by doing a few things. When sautéing or frying with oil, don’t use a bigger pan than you need because the empty spaces can get gunky and hard to clean. 

Please don’t turn the stove to its highest setting. Even though stainless steel won’t break down when used in high heat, it can get a brown or rainbow color on the outside. High temperatures can also make food splash out and leave stains on the outside that are hard to clean.

List of Best Stainless Steel Cookware Set

Best Upgrade: All-Clad d5 Brushed Stainless Steel 10-Piece Set

All-Clad d5 Brushed Stainless Steel Set

  • Material – Stainless Steel
  • Color – Stainless Steel
  • Brand – All-Clad
  • Size – 10-piece set
  • Handle Material – Stainless Steel

This cookware set includes an 8-inch fry pan, a 10-inch fry pan, a 1.5-quart saucepan with a lid, a 3-quart saucepan with a lid, a 3-quart sauté pan, and an 8-quart stock pot. It has a 5-ply bonded construction with alternating layers of stainless steel and aluminum for warp-free durability and even heating that eliminates hotspots.

The All-Clad set is made of strong materials and has handles made of stainless steel. It doesn’t warp and evenly cooks beautifully seared food. 

It looks simple and is a good choice for amateur and professional cooks who want to buy a high-quality, long-lasting stainless steel set that won’t give them many (if any) problems in the future. It is also very simple to clean.

Best Overall: Calphalon Premier Stainless Steel 11-Piece Set

Calphalon Premier Stainless Steel Set

  • Material – Stainless Steel
  • Color – Silver
  • Brand – Calphalon
  • Size – 11-Piece
  • Handle Material – Stainless Steel

Calphalon’s Premier Stainless Steel 11-Piece Set is our top pick because it fared well in our tests and stood out for its exquisite design, great durability, and easy-to-clean surface. This collection consists of two skillets, two saucepans, a sauté pan, a stockpot, and five lids.

The stainless steel cookware from Calphalon features an aluminum core encased in layers of stainless steel to stay warm and improve durability.

All the pieces can go in the dishwasher, and after cleaning, there was hardly any food left on the surface. The ergonomically designed handles were both stylish and useful. They made it easy to tilt the pans to baste a steak or make a sauce.

Best Value: Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set

Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel Cookware Set

  • Material – Stainless Steel
  • Color – Silver
  • Brand – Cuisinart
  • Size – 12-PC Set
  • Is Dishwasher Safe – Yes

This cookware set includes: a 1.5-quart saucepan with a lid, a 3-quart saucepan with a lid, a 3.5-quart sauté pan with a helper handle and a lid, an 8-quart stockpot with a lid, an 8-inch skillet, a 10-inch skillet, and a 20cm steamer insert with a lid.

This set is well-made, solid, and complete. It heats evenly and doesn’t change color much. (Discoloration is easy to fix with a cleanser like Bar Keepers Friend that doesn’t scratch). 

“This set of pans is a real beast. It feels very sturdy and like it will last for a long time. The set comes with almost everything you could need, “says one tester. 

Not only that, but another Cuisinart set made of triple-ply stainless steel was the best on our list of the best non-toxic cookware because it could handle high heat on the stove and in the oven.

Best Splurge: The 12-piece Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad Stainless Steel Cookware Set

Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad Stainless Steel Cookware Set

  • Material – Stainless Steel
  • Color – Stainless Steel
  • Brand – Tramontina
  • Size – 12-Piece
  • Handle Material – Stainless Steel,

This cookware set includes: an 8-inch fry pan, a 10-inch fry pan, a 6-quart covered deep sauté pan, a 1.5-quart covered sauce pan, a 2-quart covered sauce pan, a 3-quart covered sauce pan, and an 8-quart covered stock pot.

This complete set from Tramontina has handles that are easy to hold and feel sturdy and well-made. Our testers liked how it looked and how easy it was to clean it the most. 

One tester says it also “heated up quickly and spread the heat well.” But the people who tried it didn’t like how the scallops got a lacy crust and how the frittata stuck to the bottom of the pan. 

The whole set felt sturdy and well-made during our tests, and it was easy to hold. Also, it was easy to clean.

Best for High Heat: Anolon Nouvelle Stainless 10-Piece Cookware Set

Anolon Nouvelle Stainless 10-Piece Cookware Set

  • Material – Stainless Steel
  • Color – Stainless Steel
  • Brand – Anolon
  • Size – 10 Piece
  • Handle Material – Dual Riveted Cast Stainless Steel

This cookware set includes a 1.25-quart saucepan with a lid, a 2.5-quart saucepan with a lid, a 6.5-quart stockpot with a lid, an 8-inch frying pan, a 10.5-inch frying pan, and a 3-quart sauté pan with a lid.

This cookware set is made of polished stainless steel with copper added for optimal heat control and cooking performance.

In our cooking and cleaning tests, the Anolon pots and pans did very well, and our testers said that the set was complete and reliable. “Sturdy and a little bit heavy, but not uncomfortable,” says one. 

The testers didn’t like the dome-shaped lid, which one says “feels like it would take up too much space.” “These don’t work well for stacking or storing because they take up too much space.”

Read also: Best Cookware Made in USA

How to Choose the Appropriate Set of Stainless Steel Cookware

There are numerous aspects to consider when choosing the best stainless steel cookware. These elements are:

Price 

Not only are there various sizes of stainless steel cookware sets, but their prices range from less than $100 to nearly $1,000. Despite the importance of purchasing a quality set, you can purchase cookware based on your needs. If you choose a larger size, you must spend more money. A smaller item is cheaper.

Versatility

Choose a cookware set based on how often you plan to use it. An active cook may require a set with 14 items or more of cookware. You can save a lot of money if you are ready for a smaller set with fewer pieces that can be utilized for many different cooking jobs.

Heat Conduction

The best stainless steel cookware will have a thick bottom, often made of layers of copper or other good heat conductors. This helps keep the heat steady while cooking and keeps food from burning in places where it gets too hot. If the sides and bottom of the pans are the same thickness, food will stick and possibly burn.

How to clean stainless steel cookware?

Cleaning stainless steel cookware is generally straightforward and easy to do. Here are a few steps you can follow:

  • Remove any burnt or stuck-on food from the cookware using a soft sponge or nylon scrubber. If the food is particularly stubborn, you can try using a mixture of baking soda and water to help loosen it.
  • Rinse the cookware thoroughly under hot water, making sure to remove any remaining food particles.
  • If the cookware is particularly dirty or has a lot of stuck-on food, you can fill it with a mixture of warm water and dish soap and let it soak for a few minutes before scrubbing.
  • Dry the cookware thoroughly with a clean towel or let it air dry.
  • To remove any water spots or stains, you can try wiping the cookware with a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar or with a commercial stainless steel cleaner.

It is important to avoid using abrasive sponges or harsh chemicals on stainless steel cookware as these can damage the surface and affect its performance.

Final Words

It can be difficult to determine the best brand of stainless steel cookware as there are many factors to consider and different brands offer different features and benefits.

All-Clad is known for its tri-ply construction and high-quality craftsmanship, while Calphalon offers a range of options including both tri-ply and monobloc construction. Cuisinart is a popular and affordable brand that offers a variety of cookware sets and individual pieces.

From our point of view, the All-Clad d5 Brushed Stainless Steel 10-Piece Set and Calphalon’s Premier Stainless Steel 11-Piece Set was our best overall pick.

It was at the top of our list because it was built to last, had a great range of essential cookware, and was easy to clean. This set also has an aluminum core, which makes it strong and helps heat spread quickly and evenly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I choose stainless steel cookware for my kitchen?

Stainless steel cookware is known for its durability, resistance to stains and corrosion, and even heat distribution. It’s also non-reactive, meaning it won’t interact with acidic foods, preserving their flavors.

What makes a high-quality stainless steel cookware set?

Look for sets with multiple layers of metal (known as ply), as these ensure better heat distribution and prevent warping. Also, check for features like encapsulated bottoms for even cooking and riveted handles for sturdiness.

Is stainless steel cookware easy to maintain?

Absolutely! Stainless steel is dishwasher safe and generally easy to clean. For tough stains, soaking and using non-abrasive cleaners usually do the trick.

Can stainless steel cookware be used on all types of stovetops?

Yes, most stainless steel cookware sets are compatible with various stovetops, including gas, electric, induction, and ceramic cooktops. Just ensure the set specifies compatibility with your particular stovetop.

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